Baseball and softball continue to show signs of growing popularity, practice and competition in European countries.
Pitcher and first baseman Yoan Antonac became the seventh French player to sign for a Major League Baseball (MLB) organization as he reached an agreement with the Philadelphia Phillies.
French Baseball Softball Federation (FFBS) leaders hailed the signing as a major boost for French baseball, which will help attract other young French athletes to the sport of baseball and strengthen the case for baseball and softball to remain on the Olympic programme beyond the Tokyo 2020 Games.
“His success shows the value of our development plan and also credits the club in Montpellier and iconic coach Jean Michel Mayeyur,” said Stephen Lesfargues, FFBS Technical Director.
Born in July 2000 in Montpellier, Antonac started playing baseball at the age of five and developed under the programme of the French Federation (FFBS). He is currently at the Toulouse Academy and played in the top French League for the Barracudas Montpellier.
Antonac will fly to the United States after playing for the French National Team in the U-18 European Baseball Championship (9-15 July in Grosseto, Italy), which is a WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup 2019 Qualifier.
After his rookie season, he will go back to school in France to graduate from High School. He will complete his education at a U.S. university thanks to a scholarship granted by the Phillies.
“Congratulations to Yoan,” said FFBS President Didier Seminet. “We are very happy and wish him all the best as he gets to the next level as an athlete.”